Seeking a sustainable transport option for staff during work hours, Merri-bek City Council is trialling an e-cargo bike as an alternative to council vehicles.
Lachy, Social Policy and Projects Officer at Council, recently took an ebike for its first outing to attend the Midsumma Carnival.
Needing to carry posters, banners and decorations, public transport wasn’t an option for Lachy, but battling peak-hour traffic, the Australian Open crowds, and the hassle of finding all-day parking was unappealing. The ebike provided the ideal solution.
Hassle- free transport
“The cargo ebike meant we could carry everything we needed and we skipped the 7am bump in for cars – I rolled into Alexandra Gardens at 10.30am, set up the stall, and was ready for the festival to begin at 11. No car, no worries,” says Lachy.
“Cruising into the city and then along the Yarra on Sunday morning was a great way to start the day.”
What is an electric bike?
An electric bike, or ebike, is just like a regular bike, but with an electric motor that’s powered by a rechargeable battery. The motor provides pedal assistance, helping to reduce travel time and make carrying a large load or riding up hills a lot easier.
Ebikes offer different levels of pedal assistance to allow you to get as much or as little help as you want.
The benefits of an ebike
Efficient and convenient, ebikes help reduce transport related greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution, and traffic congestion.
The ebike also allowed Lachy the flexibility to arrive at an ideal time.
“Plus, we didn’t have to worry about carrying everything from the car park,” he adds. “I just rode straight up to the stall and unloaded. The bike was easy to ride and the battery means you don’t arrive tired or dripping in sweat.”
In addition to providing an easy ride even when fully loaded, Lachy also enjoyed the health benefits of the car-free commute.
An ebike is also a low-cost alternative to a car, with subscriptions like Lug+Carrie’s starting at $44 per week if you decide to rent rather than purchase. (According to the RACV, the average cost of owning and operating a small car in Australia is $1,066 per month, or $266 per week).
Charging an ebike
The charging process is simple and plugs in like your mobile phone. The battery can also be removed from the ebike for charging, meaning you can conveniently charge it at your desk.
To fully charge a battery like the Tern GSD takes about 4 hours. A single standard, fully charged battery will run between 50 and 110 kilometres, depending on how heavily you rely on the pedal assist and how much load you carry.
How much can you carry on an ebike?
For Lachy the ebike comfortably accommodated all his needs, from pull-up banners, to camp chairs, flyers and stands. (Many e-bike models can carry up to 100kgs, another adult, or 2-3 children.)
“Everything arrived in one piece and nothing was damaged or creased during the ride.”
“The panniers were big enough to carry our gear comfortably and didn’t make the bike difficult to ride. The front rack also gives you quick access to things you might need such as your phone or water bottle, which was handy,” says Lachy.
“I would definitely recommend the cargo e-bike to other staff.”
“It’s a simple and easy way to transport equipment or supplies where in the past we might have relied on a car,” he says.
“Booking, riding and returning the bike was a breeze, too.
“I’d really recommend people give it a try, from short trips between sites to longer ones across town. You’ll enjoy the flexibility, efficiency – and it beats sitting in the car!”
Council is hoping to expand the trial to enable their open space team to transport plants to community members during winter.